THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
TRIAL DIVISION
Cite as David v. San Nicolas,
8 FSM Intrm. 597 (Pon. 1998)

[8 FSM Intrm. 597]

JOHNNY DAVID,
Plaintiff,

vs.

MIHNER SAN NICOLAS and
JOSE SAN NICOLAS,
Defendants.

CIVIL ACTION NO. 1998-062

ORDER REMANDING MATTER

Andon L. Amaraich
Chief Justice

Decided:  November 6, 1998

APPEARANCES:
For the Plaintiff:            Andrea S. Hillyer, Esq.
                  P.O. Drawer D
                  Kolonia, Pohnpei FM 96941

For the Defendants:     Ron Moroni, Esq.
           P.O. Box 1618
           Kolonia, Pohnpei FM 96941

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HEADNOTES
Jurisdiction )National Law; Jurisdiction)Removal
     A plaintiff's complaint, stating two causes of action for breach of fiduciary duty (both existing under common law), does not arise under the national laws of the FSM so as to confer original jurisdiction on the FSM Supreme Court or show on its face an issue of national law thereby creating removal jurisdiction.  David v. San Nicolas, 8 FSM Intrm. 597, 598 (Pon. 1998).

Jurisdiction )National Law
     That a corporation chartered under the laws of the FSM is involved in a lawsuit does not necessarily mean that the interpretation of national laws will be required or that the state court is not otherwise equipped to hear the case.  David v. San Nicolas, 8 FSM Intrm. 597, 598 (Pon. 1998).

Jurisdiction)National Law; Jurisdiction )Removal
     To determine whether a controversy arises under national law, the issue of national law must be an essential element of one or more of the plaintiff's causes of action, it must be disclosed upon the face of the complaint, unaided by the answer, the petition for removal or any pleadings subsequently filed in the case, it may not be inferred from a defense asserted or one expected to be made, and the issue of national law raised must be a substantial one.  David v. San Nicolas, 8 FSM Intrm. 597, 598

[8 FSM Intrm. 598]

(Pon. 1998).

Jurisdiction )National Law; Jurisdiction)Removal
     When a case has been removed from state court on the ground that it arose under national law but the plaintiff's complaint only relies upon common law principles of breach of fiduciary duty and as such does not arise under national law because no issue of national law appears on the face of the complaint and no substantial issue of national law is raised, the case will be remanded to the state court where it was initially filed.  David v. San Nicolas, 8 FSM Intrm. 597, 598 (Pon. 1998).

*    *    *    *

COURT'S OPINION
ANDON L. AMARAICH, Chief Justice:
     On September 10, 1998 counsel for defendants Mihner and Jose San Nicolas filed a petition of removal with this Court grounded on a contention that the FSM Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over this case because it involves issues of national law.  Defendants also claim that jurisdiction here is proper because the federal questions involved appear on the face of plaintiff's complaint.

     This Court does not agree with defendants' contention that plaintiff's complaint shows on its face an issue of national law thereby creating removal jurisdiction. Nor does the Court find that plaintiff's complaint, stating two causes of action for breach of fiduciary duty (both existing under common law), arises under the national laws of the FSM so as to confer original jurisdiction on this Court pursuant to the FSM Constitution, Article XI, section 6(b).

     The Court does not believe that the fact that a corporation chartered under the laws of the FSM is involved here necessarily means that the interpretation of national laws will be required or that the Pohnpei Supreme Court is not otherwise equipped to hear the case.  To the contrary, the Court finds that this case falls within the jurisdiction of the Pohnpei Supreme Court and, to the extent that issues of national law may be involved, believes that the state supreme court is perfectly capable of addressing them appropriately.

     To determine whether a controversy "arises under" national law, this Court will apply the following rules.  First, the issue of national law must be an essential element of one or more of the plaintiff's causes of action.  Second, the issue of national law must be disclosed upon the face of the complaint, unaided by the answer, the petition for removal or any pleadings subsequently filed in the case. Third, the issue of national law may not be inferred from a defense asserted or one expected to be made.  Fourth, the issue of national law raised must be a substantial one.

     None of these prerequisites have been met here.  In his complaint, plaintiff only relies upon common law principles of breach of fiduciary duty.  As a result of such pleading, the case does not "arise under" national law, no issue of national law appears on the face of the complaint and, of course, no "substantial" issue of national law is raised.

     Accordingly, the Court hereby orders that this case be remanded to the Pohnpei Supreme Court Trial Division where it was initially filed.

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